21 Nonfiction Books for Secondary ELA Classrooms


Tell me if this sounds familiar: sometimes it's tough to get middle and high school students to go outside their comfort zones for reading nonfiction. They assume the book is too long, too difficult, or too boring, and many students stick to super-short biographies or animal books.

As a result, I'm always on the lookout for nonfiction that will be nonthreatening, "worth it", or super engaging for my classroom library.

When I asked several of my English teacher colleagues on Instagram what they would recommend, they answered the call with some GREAT suggestions. These titles range in length, difficulty, content, and maturity.

We hope you enjoy this list! To see the FULL book talk for each title, click on the hyperlink of the teacher's username who recommended it.



Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

1. Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration
Recommended by @secondarysara
Link to Amazon

2.The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough
Recommended by @doccopteaching
Link to Amazon

3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Recommended by @elaclassroom
Link to Amazon.

4. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
Recommended by @addiewilliams_tpt
Link to Amazon

5. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
Recommended by @prestoplans
Link to Amazon

6. The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
Recommended by @buildingbooklove
Link to Amazon

7. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Recommended by @nouvelle_ela
Link to Amazon

8. I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka & Martin Ganda
Recommended by @theclassroomsparrow
Link to Amazon

9. The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater
Recommended by @hansonhallway
Link to Amazon

10. World War II Heroes: Ten True Tales by Allan Zullo
Recommended by @2peasandadog
Link to Amazon

11. Bomb: The Race to Build (and Steal) The World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
Recommended by @theliterarymaven
Link to Amazon

12. In the Shadow of Liberty by Kenneth C. Davis
Recommended by @readitwriteitlearnit
Link to Amazon

13. I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
Recommended by @mrsorman
Link to Amazon

14. For Everyone by Jason Reynolds
Recommended by @mrsspanglerinthemiddle
Link to Amazon

15. Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverted Kids by Susan Cain
Recommended by @toocoolformiddleschool
Link to Amazon

16. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
Recommended by @thedaringenglishteacher
Link to Amazon

17. Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson
Recommended by @helloteacherlady
Link to Amazon

18. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Recommended by @room213tpt
Link to Amazon

19. Marley Dias Gets It Done by Marley Dias
Recommended by @literarysherri
Link to Amazon

20. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Recommended by @writeonwithmissg
Link to Amazon

21. Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
Recommended by @thesuperheroteacher
Link to Amazon


What other nonfiction books would you recommend?
Tell us in the comments!

2 comments

  1. War Child: A Child Soldier’s Story by Emmanuel Jal is also a great read!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love all of these! Thanks to all for the great recommendations!

    ReplyDelete